A Michigan couple who has 14 sons are pushing back against those critical of them for having such a large family.
Jay Schwandt, 44, a lawyer, owner of a land surveying business and the father of the 14 boys, said that he and his wife, Kateri, 43, have no regrets, regardless of the negative comments they receive online.
“There are some really mean people in the world. And it doesn’t matter,” said Schwandt, of Rockford, a suburb of Grand Rapids. “We happen to be this great big family with 14 boys that has so much fun every second that we’re together. And we still get horrible comments.”
Although some online remarks contend that the Schwandts could not possibly give each boy enough attention, their fourth son Brandon, 19, disagrees.
“It’s just what we grew up with. I don’t know how to explain it. It’s just life. It’s our life,” said Brandon, a talented hockey player who recently signed to join a junior team in Florida, the Detroit Free Press reported.
With 14 boys ranging in age from 2 months to 25 years, life in the Schwandt home is described by Kateri as “organized chaos.” Jay called it “Crazy. Chaotic. Noisy. Messy,” yet insisted that they enjoy it. “If we didn’t, we wouldn’t have continued to have this many children.”
After becoming sweethearts in high school, Jay and Kateri Schwandt went on to attend Ferris State University, during which time they had three boys, beginning with Tyler, their oldest, who now is 25.
The youngest was born in April, and named Finley Sheboygan, whose middle name was inspired by a tale told by Kateri’s dad — who also has 14 children — about an American Indian chief who fathered many boys. Despite his belief that his last child would be a girl, the baby was a boy, which the man named Sheboygan, to mean “she is a boy again.”
Regarding Finley Sheboygan’s middle name, Kateri said, “So, we decided to have a little fun with it. He’s got a lot of brothers standing behind him, so if anybody wants to make fun of his name they can try.”
Is Finley the last child for the Schwants?
“I have said, steadfastly, that we are done having children,” said Jay. “But I have been reminded that I said the exact same thing after Tucker (who’s now 4). And after Francisco. It just feels like we’re done.”
Whether or not the Schwandts have a 15th child, their first grandchild is on the way and due on Friday.
Drew, 21, and his girlfriend, Anelene Mellin, a student at Central Michigan University, are expecting — a girl, who is due to be born on Friday.
“I’m really excited about it,” said Mellin. “She’ll be extremely loved and probably spoiled.”
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